I’ve never tried cassava before, but I was pleasantly surprised.You treat it like a potato – boil, bake, mash, fry etc – but it’s tastier than a spud: more savoury. However, it’s quite mealy and thus, on balance, I think the humble potato is wins out. Definitely worth giving a try, though. I peeled the cassava, chopped it into chunks, then pan-fried them in olive oil. They were a great accompaniment to this Sous Vide chicken dish, along with some crispy fried leeks.
2 chicken breasts, with skin on
For the stuffing:
2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
Zest and juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 garlic clove, ground to a paste with a pinch of coarse sea salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 slices of Parma ham
For the cassava
200ml olive oil
Half cassava root
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the leeks
Knob of butter
2 leeks, shredded
1. Carefully remove the skin from the chicken breasts. Rub with a little oil and place on a foil-lined roasting tray. Sprinkle over a little sea salt. Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 3 and cook the chicken skin until very crispy, approx. 30 mins, taking care that it doesn’t burn.
2. Mix all the ingredients for the stuffing in a bowl. With a sharp knife, slice a ‘pocket’ into each chicken breast, then carefully fill the pocket with a tablespoon-full of the mascarpone mixture. Close the pocket.
3. Lay out the Parma ham and wrap each breast in a slice of ham.
4. Wrap tightly in Clingfilm, then seal in a Sous Vide vacuum pouch. Set the Sous Vide water bath to 67.5C and lower in the pouches. Cook the chicken breasts for 1-2 hours.
5. Remove the pouches from the water. Unwrap the chicken. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and brown the chicken breasts all over, approx. 2 mins.
6. Cook the cassava. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Peel the cassava and chop the white flesh into chunks. Parboil for approx. 10 mins, until tender. Remove from the water and drain. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the cassava chunks until golden, approx. 7-9 mins. Sprinkle with salt.
7. Meanwhile, cook the shredded leeks in a saucepan with melted butter until crispy, approx. 5 mins.
8. Serve the chicken breasts with the crispy crackling, cassava fries and leeks.